Espy Library

Independent Study Project - Winter 2006

by Deborah Bancroft, MLIS candidate

Project Description
Progress Report

I began my work on January 7, 2006, by unpacking and shelving as many boxes of the Paul Dickson donation as would fit on the two bookcases in the library annex. I worked up estimates of how many additional bookcases would be needed to accommodate the remainder of the Dickson collection and furnished Polly Friedlander with the details. Until the new library is built, all other donations will continue to be stored in the small room next to the library annex. As an end note to my work with Espy Library I returned to the annex on February 26th and examined and bookplated a portion of the unpacked books. I wrote and left behind a sheet of Instructions for future volunteers to use once the new shelves are installed.

The majority of my project time was spent in the old library working with the core collection donated by Willard R. Espy and Louise M. Espy. In examining the collection, I compared the books in hand to the 2002 documentation contained in a loose leaf binder labelled "Library Catalog." I made notes of discrepancies, condition, inscriptions, and any instances of introductory material written by W.R.E. Although some books were not listed  in the 2002 "catalog," I was able to bookplate most of them and set aside the others in question. I installed the ResourceMate software on the library's computer and began to build the electronic catalog, starting with donations by Louise Espy made since the 2002 listing. There is considerable cataloging work still to be done but the final result will be well worth the effort. A complete electronic catalog will make all items searchable by title, author and subject headings, and  retrievable from their shelf locations. The use of Library of Congress (LOC) classification numbers will also allow like subject matter to be found in close proximity, a tremendous boon to the library user who likes to browse shelves.

Future data entry, spine labeling and shelf reorganization (according to LOC numbers) will be time consuming but a facilitating structure and system are in place. Between now and when the new library is ready, there should be ample time for the work to be done. Even volunteers with limited computer expertise may find the work doable, using the Step by Step instruction sheet which I created for adding items to the electronic catalog. Simply by inputting the ISBN number, the LOC cataloging informaiton is imported to the database on the library's computer. Additionally, when I registered the software with ResourceMate in late February, a 90 day period of free support was initiated.

While I am willing to set up additional contract time to work on the project, I believe that may not be necessary in the short term. There is in place a system whereby considerable progress can be made through the use of volunteers. Although the "Plus" version of ResourceMate was not purchased, the lack of flexibility for catalogers is unlikely to be a problem in the near future. When necessary, an upgrade or new purchase is always an option. Another possibility would be having a computer loaded with the ResourceMate software (and internet access) at the library annex so that cataloging according to the Step by Step instructions can be done with the Dickson collection too. One of the advantages of the "Plus" version is that it allows the software to be used on different machines and the imported (from LOC) records to be saved on disk and then transferred to the main computer's catalog database.

To conclude this progress report, all aspects of the independent study project were completed on time except the investigation of archival selection and description. My understanding from Polly was that Trustee Lee Soper had taken this on as his project. I did do some research in the area of preservation and conservation and have recommendations in a following section.